Atlanta, USA – Welcome to the city nicknamed Hotlanta!! Home of the third leg of the World Rugby Womens 7s World Series, which will kick off this weekend. With that, here’s a look at Team USA:
It is not just the sun that is applying heat to the shoulders of the USA Women’s Eagles 7s program and head coach Ric Suggit. From fans to experts to general on-lookers, there is a feeling that the USA team should be doing a lot better. The mini-miracles being worked by men’s program head coach Mike Friday, assistant coach Chris Brown and National Development Director Alex Magleby has not done the Women’s program any favors. Anyway, like we did for all tournament legs, let’s look at the Top 3 Issues facing the side as they play host to the world.
Squad Changes (-/+): After breaking into the squad for the last leg in Sao Paulo, Dana Meschisi did not make the cut for Atlanta. Misery loves company and joining Meschisi on the outside looking in will be Melissa Fowler. Akalaini “Bui” Baravilala, a member of the RWU USA class of 2013, who had been away from the national team since 2013 due to a 2 year church mission comes back into the fold. Joining Bui and making her 7s series debut will be Kate Zackary.
Consistent Selection: Or should we say inconsistent selection? We understand the need to find the right formula but the side keeps changing each tournament. There is a lack of gelling which leads to inconsistent play and lack of trust on the field. Key little areas of the game decide wins or losses, as the devil is always in the details. Getting these details right is problematic with the shuffling.
Under-achievement: The count is now up to 11 WSWS tournaments with only 1 cup final. It is simply not good enough. The USA is hoping to qualify for Rio by playing their way in on the WSWS by finishing in the top 4. The big games come and the USA has not fared well. To become a top four team, they must come up big against the better teams.
Optimist View: The team is looking good and should claim 5th without a problem. With a little bit of luck and being on home soil, they will be able to get a top four spot like the men in Las Vegas.
Cynic View: Nice to see an actual rugger being added but the athlete-to-rugger combo still doesn’t feel right. There needs to be more play-makers and players able to read the game on offense and defense and make good decisions. 5th will be an achievement.
RWU View: Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The team is just still lacking tactical nous and will finish 6th. We do believe that with your support they can do more. So follow them on Twitter and tweet your encouraging words to the eagles: @USAWomens7s
Thankfully the break between Sao Paulo leg and Atlanta leg is much shorter than the break between Dubai and Sao Paulo. It is likely that we will see some unlikely scorelines in terms of results. Especially with the 6 Nations occurring, we will likely see some upsets.
Here are our pool previews:
New Zealand will take this group with ease… USA has a smooth ride to second place in this group. Russia will give the top two a good fight but will finish third. South Africa will finish last.
Australia will win this group, though they will likely have a challenge from Fiji… France will not go away quietly and could give Fiji a run for their money, but they will be missing backs due to the 6 Nations, which is why we foresee them coming in 3rd in the pool… Spain is capable of getting into a good form and causing trouble but this doesn’t feel like it will be the tournament for it.
Canada will take this group but England will make them work for it as 6 Nations duties will take its toll on the English, so it will be a push at second… Brazil will take third and they will be followed by a poor China side.
Final standings will be
Cup: New Zealand
All the matches can be seen live on World Rugby TV.
That’s it for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Nick Hall, DJ Eberle, Jake Frechette, Scheenagh Harrington, Jamie Loyd, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter and Declan Yeats, respectively.
And as always, stay low and keep pumping those legs.